Sketching in the OR

Anatomy, Surgical, Traditional Work

While some people might find being in a surgical operating room uneasy and slightly awkward, I find it amazingly intriguing. First of all you get to wear and sweet get up:

Stylish… I know, but it’s all in the name of hygiene  For our first surgical illustration assignment the goal was to view as many surgeries as possible and see different techniques. This exercise was to help build our surgical illustration visual library, a mental reference of as many tissue manipulations as possible.

Deep incision on the upper arm

Blunt dissection of superficial tissue

When you first go in the OR, anything can be happening. Sometimes no one is in the room, at others the surgery has already started. Everyone has a face mask on, so you can only see eyes. I found it took a little bit of re-learning body language without certain facial features to pick up on. But you quickly pick up on interpretations as well as etiquette.

Tissue manipulation and suture hemostasis; removal of fistula

Cauterization of skin tissue using hemostat

Some surgeries I couldn’t see anything, I would be on my tippy-toes, or crouching down just to get a glimpse of what was going on. If you have a more inviting OR team, they will help direct you to a place where you can see something, but still be out of the way. At other times the surgical field is so small, that regardless of how people move, you do not see anything. In instances like this I find it helpful to stay close ( but out of the sterile field) and listen to any discussion about the procedure.

Suturing skin to areola and staple retraction

Suturing scalp

Cauterizing skin tissue (hemostasis)

I am very thankful for this opportunity. It is amazing to be able to observe some of the complicated procedures surgeons are performing in real time. The chance to see teams of people work together for the health of one individual.


3 thoughts on “Sketching in the OR

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